'It's time for you to give families peace of mind': St. Catharines MPP on school reopenings

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St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens wants the Premier to deliver a school reopening plan this week.

At Queen's Park today, Stevens asked Premier Doug Ford to stop the delays and table a school reopening plan in Ontario so families and educators can have peace of mind.

Ford sent a letter to health care and education officials asking them for advice on reopening schools. H

He gave them a deadline of Friday afternoon to respond.

Since then we have not heard from the government on a reopening plan.

In the legislature MPP Stevens: 

“I rise today in this chamber to express the frustration and exhaustion of parents, kids, teachers and education workers right now. Students are struggling with growing mental health and wellbeing challenges, isolation and learning hurdles. 

Last week instead of a decision on opening schools, we got a letter that scapegoats and delays.

Premier, you’ve had many months to build a plan to make schools safe to re-open. Instead, chose to do nothing for months, to ignore the advice of health and education experts, ignore feedback from frontline education workers, and refuse to spend the money to make schools safe.

Excuse disbelief of my residents, Premier, when you send a letter requesting feedback from educators and health officials, while your track record of satisfying the concerns from these groups have been marked with failure many times throughout this school year.  

Experts and educators have been speaking about safe class rooms, smaller class rooms, HVACS that are modernized, all to keep the community spread down.  You never listened.  Now, we are to believe you will this time?  

For those parents and teachers that are reaching out to me through tears of frustration, they deserve that you give them an answer.  

Asking for input now more than a year into the pandemic and a month until the end of the school year is an unfair delay for families across St. Catharines.

Mr. Premier, I urge you to give parents and educators the peace of mind about reopening schools and provide them clarity this week.”